Monday, March 1, 2010

too early for the NFL Draft??

April 22nd isn't that far away is it?

The Lions are picking #2 overall, and then have key selections at 34, 66, and 97.

Just like last year, when I rightly argued that the Lions should have taken either Curry or Smith instead of Stafford, I will pour hours of thought into the #2 overall pick and decide what I think of Suh, Okung, McCoy, and anybody else who warrants mentioning. A few months ago I was sold on Suh, but I don't want the Lions to pick him just because Mel Kiper tells them to. That's what happened last year when we shot ourselves in the foot and threw away $70 million dollars on a kid who's never going to play in a single Pro Bowl or Super Bowl. Last year I said, "Let's take Jason Smith, and then next year when we're drafting in the top 5 again, we'll take either Bradford or Claussen." It was too damn easy, and of course the Lions execs had to mess it up.

If Stafford had stayed in college and was going pro on April 22 (like he should have), he'd be a mid to late first round pick. He would probably end up being a back-up somewhere like Cincinnati or Houston. He wouldn't be picked ahead of Bradford or Clausen. That's a fact. He doesn't have the release, the accuracy, the footwork, or the track record of those guys. He has the arm strength, but that's about it.

He also doesn't have the intangibles. Leadership. Moxie. Poise. Etc.

But whatever. Let's forget about the Staff-infection and move on to 2010.

Who should the Lions take at #2 is a question which is of course contingent on who the Rams take at #1. Unlike last year, we don't have control of our own destiny.

For the Rams, there are three choices:
1. - Take the best player available, Ndamukong Suh.
2. - Take the QB of the future, Sam Bradford.
3. - Trade with a team who wants a QB of the future.

Option #3 sounds unrealistic, but there is one possible suitor with the money and the balls to go after Bradford at #1. And that's the Washington Redskins, who are slotted to pick #4. If they're smart, they'll wait paitently and hope St. Louis takes Suh. The Lions, at #2 ,and the Bucs, at #3, aren't picking quarterbacks. The Skins might get their guy at #4. And if the Rams do take Bradford, the Skins could have Clausen for $10 million less, and then they're not mortgaging their futures on an injury risk.

But Dan Snyder isn't always smart (see: Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randel El, Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, etc.) but he does love to spend money. So there is a concievable chance that he pulls a trade with St. Louis, and sends the draft into a tizzy. Well, maybe not a tizzy. All he would do is draft Sam Bradford, which honestly, might be extremely smart. I'd rather have him than Stafford in less than a second, and that's with the injured knee and all. He's a real pro. He's got "it." The same "it" they said Matt Ryan had when he was at Boston College. You can just tell which QBs are meant to be NFL QBs. Maybe NFL GMs can't tell, but I can tell. Bradford is one. Clausen, maybe not. Stafford, no.

Right now, the Rams are doing the smart thing, which is weighing their options and hoping for a trade. Suh is great, but nobody wants to pay anybody #1 overall pick money no matter how great any player is, and giving that kind of money to a defensive lineman is especially tough to swallow. They're hoping for a trade with Washington, and if they don't get it, I'd say they are 60% Suh, 40% Bradford. They know they aren't winning more than 4 or 5 games with Marc Bulger at QB.

So based on the Rams' options, the Lions have a few choices when they are on the clock at #2.

If the Rams or Redskins take Bradford, the Lions can:
1. Draft Suh
2. Draft someone else
3. Desperatey try to trade, unsuccessfully

If the Rams take Suh, the Lions can:
1. Draft Gerald McCoy
2. Draft someone else
3. Desperatey try to trade, unsuccessfully

So basically, our options boil down to this: take a defensive tackle (which we need) or take someone else. And in the interests of building a successful team and saving some cash, the "someone else" would be either an offensive lineman or a pass rusher. A left tackle, or a defensive end.

The top left tackles are Anthony Davis from Rutgers and Russell Okung from Oklahoma State. (Pettigrew's alma mater). Davis is heavier, shorter, and stronger; Okung is taller, faster, and lighter. For the zone-blocking scheme that the Lions think they are running, Okung is the better fit. If the Lions do take a left tackle, it presents the same issues that were presented last year by the prospect of taking Jason Smith. What to do with Jeff Backus? Move him to guard? Move him to left tackle and bench Gosder? Move Gosder inside? It's a tough call, and ultimately unimportant as I highly doubt the Lions will take a left tackle, mostly because there isn't a Jake Long in this draft who is clearly head-and-shoulders better than the rest of the pack. We might be able to take a startable O-lineman with the 34th pick, which we might if we take defense #2.

The top pass rushers in the draft include Jason Pierre-Paul from South Florida, Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech, and Carlos Dunlap from Florida, who was ranked a lot higher before he was arrested with a DUI. I'm not crazy about any of these guys; Pierre-Paul is too much of a mouthful, and I do like Morgan a lot, but would feel better drafting him in the 7-10 range as opposed to #2 overall.

So to make a long story short, we're pretty much between Suh and McCoy. If Suh goes #1, we take McCoy; if not, we take Suh. I don't really want to give a defensive tackle $35 million in guaranteed money, but there isn't really a clear third option for the Lions, except for an unlikely trade with someone who does want Suh badly enough to break the bank.

Blah. Looks like another dreary NFL draft for Detroit. In other news, it's almost baseball season!


  1. Ok this is a stretch but what if the Rams take Suh that could leave trade bait for the Browns, Raiders or Bills to jump up and try to take Bradford. I know the Browns and Raiders have a lot of money wrapped up in QB right now, but neither of them have a good one. Considering its going to up an uncapped year maybe this would be the year to do it.
    My other thought would be if the Rams take Bradford, would one of those same three teams try to jump up and take Clausen before the Redskins do, similar to the way that Jets jumped up to take Sanchez.
    If the Lions are able to drop down 7, 8, or 9 that would leave the door ope for taking Joe Hayden, Eric Berry or may be even CJ Spiller. Plus maybe they could get another 2nd rounder out of the deal too.

  2. Al Davis could also go crazy and trade up just to take Suh

  3. that would be awesome if the lions can get 2 draft picks (a first and a second rounder) for the #2 pick. for sure that's the best case scenario. good call crazy.